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Football Reporting


‘Gabriel Jesus didn’t make the most of Aguero’s absence’ – Goater expected more from Man City striker

The former Blues forward has been reflecting on the struggles Pep Guardiola’s side endured in the final third early on in the 2020-21 campaign

Gabriel Jesus did not make the most of his opportunity to lead the line for Manchester City during the injury-enforced absence of Sergio Aguero, says Shaun Goater.

The Blues have seen their all-time leading goalscorer take in just five appearances this season.

The most recent of those came last time out in a Champions League clash with Marseille that saw the Argentine step off the bench to find the target in a 3-0 win.

Pep Guardiola will be hoping that the most prolific option at his disposal is now over the fitness issues that have been holding him back.

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Aguero firing on all cylinders will be good news for City, but could spell trouble for Jesus – who has also suffered a few knocks this season and failed to nail down a No.9 berth with only three goals through eight outings.

The Blues did endure struggles as a collective early on in the 2020-21 campaign, but Goater sees them coming through that uncharacteristic blip as key men return and a settled system is put in place.

The former City striker told the Racing Post on the lack of firepower: “I think it was a number of things, including a reliance on Kevin De Bruyne for creativity.

“Pep was also trying to figure out the midfield and tinkered with his system, putting another defensive midfielder in alongside Rodri.

“Also I was really hoping that Gabriel Jesus would take the opportunity of knowing he had a run of games, but he didn’t quite do that and I think he sacrificed himself for the team by doing a lot of work out wide when to score goals you need to be in the middle.”

City have started to find their groove going forward, while defensive leaks are also being plugged.

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John Stones’ welcome return to form has aided that cause, with Goater acknowledging that the England international has been outperforming some big-money additions.

He added, with City readying themselves for a derby date with arch-rivals Manchester United on Saturday: “Aymeric Laporte has been in and out, but Ruben Dias has come in and after a few games you knew he was some player and John Stones looks like the John Stones that Pep bought in the first place.

“I know from exactly the same experience what it is like at City when you’re in the team and then better players are brought in.

“You have to up your game and Stones is doing that now – he has done a fabulous job recently to the point that people are not even talking about summer signing Nathan Ake.”

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